Special Report

20 Companies Profiting the Most From War

Source: Nilfanion / Wikimedia Commons

10. Thales
> Country: France
> Arms sales: $8.2 billion
> Total sales: $16.5 billion
> Profit: $1.1 billion
> Employees: 64,100

French defense contractor Thales develops and manufactures electrical and weapons systems for ground, sea, and air operations. The company’s products include field optics, armored vehicles, missile defense systems, and helicopter navigation equipment. The company also produces naval anti-aircraft systems, sonar, unmanned aerial vehicles, and military avionics.

One of the largest defense contractors in Europe, Thales’ arms sales and services accounted for about half of its 2016 revenue. The company’s other segments include space exploration, mass transportation, and security services.

Source: Ketil / Wikimedia Commons

9. Leonardo
> Country: Italy
> Arms sales: $8.5 billion
> Total sales: $13.3 billion
> Profit: $561.0 million
> Employees: 45,630

Leonardo — formerly known as Finmeccanica — is the largest of only two Italian defense contractors to rank among the 100 largest weapons and military services companies in the world. Like many companies on this list, Leonardo’s operations span multiple fields of defense, including aircraft, electronics, information, and artillery. The company’s aircraft division produces a range of military vehicles, including fighter jets, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The company also manufactures a range of naval, aerial, and surface ammunition, including missiles and torpedoes.

Though Leonardo also manufactures equipment for non-military space programs, defense contracts accounted for 64% of the company’s revenue in 2016.

Source: Douglas McFadd / Getty Images

8. L-3 Communications
> Country: United States
> Arms sales: $8.9 billion
> Total sales: $10.5 billion
> Profit: $647.0 million
> Employees: 38,000

Defense contractor L-3 Communications is based in New York City. Each of the company’s four business segments — electronic, aerospace, communication, and sensor systems — has contracts with the federal government for defense purposes. L-3’s products and services include unmanned aerial vehicle controls, submarine propulsion systems, and pilot training programs. L-3’s market is not limited to the United States. The company has locations in 29 countries and lucrative contracts with multiple foreign governments, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

Outside of defense contracting, L-3 also manufactures sensor systems commonly found at airport security checkpoints. Still, military sales and services accounted for nearly 85% of the company’s $10.5 billion in revenue in 2016.

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

7. Airbus Group
> Country: Trans-European
> Arms sales: $12.5 billion
> Total sales: $73.7 billion
> Profit: $1.1 billion
> Employees: 133,780

Airbus is the second largest defense contractor in Europe and the seventh largest worldwide by total weapons sales. Defense contracts accounted for $12.5 billion of the company’s $73.7 billion 2016 revenue. The company’s military products and services range from cybersecurity to fighter jets, attack helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Currently, 526 of the company’s Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets are in operation in eight countries — four of which outside of the aircraft’s intended market of Europe.

Outside of weapons systems and military services, the company derives the bulk of its revenue from commercial aircraft and spacecraft.

Source: Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool / Getty Images

6. General Dynamics Corp.
> Country: United States
> Arms sales: $19.2 billion
> Total sales: $31.4 billion
> Profit: $3.0 billion
> Employees: 98,800

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, defence contractor General Dynamic has operations in 46 countries. From its beginnings in the 1950s through the early 1990s, the company manufactured tanks, missiles, rockets, warships, and submarines to all branches of the U.S. armed services. Due to the defense industry downturn in the early 1990s, General Dynamics sold all of its branches with the exceptions of its electric boat and land systems operations.

Today, the company manufactures armored vehicles and tanks in addition to nuclear-powered submarines and surface vessels. The company has also made several considerable acquisitions in recent decades, including Bath Iron Works in 1995 and Gulfstream Aerospace in 1999. Bath Iron Works is where the company is building the state-of-the-art Zumwalt-class destroyer for the U.S. Navy.

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